Universal-Inheritance Rule Law and Legal Definition

Universal inheritance rule is a rule of wills and estates that an intestate estate escheats to the state only if the decedent leaves no surviving relatives, no matter how distant. This rule was widely followed in the U.S. during the first half of the 20th century. However, the Uniform Probate Code abandons this rule and provides that if no member of the third or a nearer parentela survives the decedent, the intestate estate escheats to the state.